Last week, I received my 2010 prediction issue of Research Business Review. There were 12 pages of predictions from all corners of the research industry. It was overwhelming. I wondered what would happen if I created a word cloud of the entire predictions issue to easily assess the common themes? I scanned the entire issue and loaded the text into Wordle to create a typical word frequency word cloud (below).
Then I began to consider the business implications of this compilation. My mind instinctively began to combine words in an attempt to decipher meaning from this jumble of words. Suddenly new concepts began to form around those word combinations. I quickly realized that I was brainstorming trends and opportunities for 2010 from this jumbled mass of relevant words. The word cloud and the resulting word combinations became an unexpected tool that stimulated brainstorming.
Look at this word cloud and allow combinations of words to form. What are their implications? How do those combinations lead you to insights? Here are some combinations that pop at me:
- New Media Companies
- Media Insights Communities
- New Social Consumers
- Consumer Insights Communities
- Marketing Less Media
- Continue Technology Promises
- Understand Traditional Listening
- See New Consumers
The beauty of using word clouds in this way is that the word cloud prioritizes the concepts (at least the words) that the experts are using but presents them in such a way that the brain has to work to make some sense of it. That is the process that leads to brainstorming.
As a qual researcher, my mind is spinning on two levels. First, how can I tactically use Word Clouds in my qualitative research brainstorming? Second, how can I use Word Cloud Brainstorming in my business planning to tap the wisdom of the crowds of experts to better plan and strategize?